The film features many stars of the time: Steve McQueen, James Coburn, James Garner, Charles Bronson and Richard Attenborough among others.
What happens when you imprison several masters of escape and forgery at the same camp? Well, what anyone would expect: they try to escape. What is extraordinary about this (true) story is that the prisoners will attempt to escape all at the same time - all 250 of them.
The film follows the planning, the preparation and the attempt itself.
Despite the fact that this is a war film, the focus is mainly on the characters and how its individual skill and psychology, affect the progress of the plan.
Even though (spoiler alert) the attempt was not successful (at least not 100%), the feeling that the film brings out is that it’s all about spirit and hope. When Steve McQueen’s character is lead once more to the cooler (the camp’s prison), he immediately starts to play catch and throw inside his prison cell, as he did each time he was locked there, making the guard wonder how can he keep his cool after having his escape dreams crashed so many times. And this is how the film ends, showing us that it doesn’t matter if you lose a battle. You have to keep trying to win the war.
The film was nominated for Best film Editing at the 1964 Academy Awards, as well as for Best Picture-Drama at the same year’s Golden Globes.
It was one of the highest grossing films of 1963, earning $11,7M at the Box Office, having a budget of $4M.
Week #6 featured a great war film that had received an Academy Award nomination. Week #7, given it’s going to be the Oscar weekend, will feature a film that gained 5 Academy Awards
Next week’s film: One flew over the cuckoo’s nest (1975)